Reviewed by Jeanne
Booklover Nina revels in her librarian job in Birmingham, England. She lives to connect people with books, finding just the perfect book for each person. Then her world comes crashing down with the news that, due to cutbacks, the library is to be turned into a technology center and most of the staff let go. Even as she applies for a job in the new center, Nina’s heart isn’t in it. She doesn’t want to “interface” in a “multimedia experience zone.” She’s sure that people still want books, no, still need books, and so she hits on a daring plan: she will buy a van, stock it with books, and use it as a mobile bookshop.
She just didn’t expect to end up in a tiny village in Scotland with an irritable farmer for a landlord, sheep for neighbors, and a flirtation with a handsome train conductor.
British author Colgan is getting a lot of good buzz for her funny, contemporary romances, so I decided to give one a try. As advertised, this was a light and fun book with memorable characters and some good lines. Colgan did an especially good job of describing the Scottish countryside as seen through the eyes of an English city girl. Her descriptions of the air, the sunlight in the long summer days, the fields, the Northern Lights, all made it sound as though it would be worth putting on several sweaters and wellies to go see. Most of all, the emphasis is on books and the human need for storytelling. Nina has some real challenges in finding books for many of her new Scottish neighbors, but Colgan comveys well the joy in connecting book and reader.
There’s a good assortment of characters, from the boys at the pub to an angry young teen who helps with the shop in return for books, to Nina’s former roommate who can’t believe that Nina has ended up (in her view) out in the middle of nowhere.
But she also acknowledges that some folks are resistant to reading fiction with a wonderful line from Lennox, Nina’s landlord who states plainly that he just can’t understand “why anyone would go to the trouble of making up new people in this world when there’s already billions of the buggers I don’t give a shit about.”
The only disappointment I had with the book was that Colgan makes up many of the recommendations instead of using real books. It seemed to me to be an odd choice to make, as it would connect readers with more books they might enjoy which is pretty much Nina’s reason for being, at least at the beginning.
If you’re looking for a cozy romance with books, humor, and atmosphere, The Bookshop on the Corner is a great choice!